A greater proportion of business growth and sales than ever before happens online. Though these online sales usually happen without any face-to-face interaction between a customer and a representative of the business, the need to make connections with customers hasn’t diminished. Like sales, more business marketing than ever takes place online as companies invest significant amounts of money into learning how to create customer loyalty and develop a brand exclusively online. The primary factor in this shift toward online sales and customer acquisition is cost. Businesses are able to significantly cut down on their operating costs by operating partially, primarily or exclusively online; just think about the cost savings associated with not having to operate from a brick-and-mortar location. While this isn’t ideal for all businesses, many businesses that thrive online would find it difficult to exist without the internet.
One exception to the exodus away from in-person business toward online business has been trade shows. Trade shows have managed to maintain relevance and even grow in importance as the business landscape changes. The reason for this is that they offer businesses access to a large pool of customers who have already demonstrated interest in their product or service just by attending the trade show. The continued existence and relevance of trade shows is interesting because success at a trade show demands the traditional, in-person sales and marketing skills that are otherwise diminishing. As a result, businesses often need to shift their mindset prior to a trade show. As a way to begin doing just that, here is a closer look at some reasons why trade shows still matter.
One of the most difficult parts of selling business to business, either in person or over the phone, is simply making contact with a person who has purchasing authority. Prior to the internet, most of a salesperson’s time was spent trying to get in touch with the right people. Trade shows have remained relevant partly because they reduce a business’s dependence on jumping through these hoops. Recent statistics show that over 80% of trade show attendees have buying authority. To a salesperson whom is used to spending only 10% of their time communicating with someone with purchasing authority, a trade show is obviously an incredible opportunity.
Greater percentages of marketing budgets, more than ever before, are allocated to online marketing strategies. At a trade show, businesses often have to shift gears and focus on in-person marketing strategies. Making an effective, memorable presentation is one skill that trade show attendees should hone prior to attending. Listening and follow-up skills are also important, as are choosing strategic giveaways or “party favors” that help leave an impression on those who check out a particular product at a trade show. All of these skills help to build a business’s brand with customers and within a particular industry.
Traditional networking skills are also important at a trade show. In fact, more sales happen after a trade show, as a result of interactions at the show, than they do at the trade show itself. There is modern hardware and software available now, though, that can help with this face-to-face networking. Tradeshow scanner rentals allow a business to scan the barcoded badges that attendees at trade shows often have. This scanning records and stores their information and makes the process of following up, building a relationship and making a sale a much easier process going forward.